Indians / Indians

American Indian Flag is part of the Indians / Indians series, in which Sethi explore issues of ‘Indian’ identity and the question of cultural / national hybridization.  American Indian Flag integrates the colors of the national flag of India into the structure of the flag of the United States of America.  In addition, American Indian Flag replaces the fifty stars with silhouettes of the geographical shape of the nation-state of India.

American Indian Flag intentionally explores a territory of ambiguity, in which I question the relationship between language and identity: is American Indian Flag a co-option of the American flag with Indian elements? Or is it an example of hybridization, a visual representation of a different understanding of national identity and affiliation? Additionally American Indian Flag also seeks to question established notions of patriotism by asking if the replacement of elements of the American flag is an act of defacement of either the American or Indian flags? *

American Indian Flag riffs on the traditional lexicon of what we consider “American Indian,” and asks whether Indians from the Indian Subcontinent have the right to appropriate language reserved for indigenous Americans.

*The first printing company that Sethi approached to produce this flag refused on the grounds that they do not alter or deface the American flag.

Part of the Indians / Indians series, Watching Indians is a collection of photographic images in which Sethi documented himself watching films about “Indians.” These diptychs counter-pose depictions of Native American Indians and those of South Asian Indians.

Central to Watching Indians is active looking. In these images he is seen searching, scanning, and scrutinizing the films for clues about elements of representation both through pictorial narrative and the luminescent visual quality that cinema provides. It is important to realize that the films that he is watching are Anglo-American constructions of “Indian” identities. Sethi is interested in examining these romanticizing and demonizing depictions of both the landscape of native “homelands” as well as the people that reside within them.

Watching Indians – Diptych series, each image 24 x 36 digital C-prints.  Ongoing.

Recent exhibitions of works from Indians / Indians series:


An Exhibition Presented by
Kearny Street Workshop and
East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

July 13 — September 28, 2012

Asian Resource Center Gallery
310 8th St. (Webster & Harrison)
Oakland, CA 94607

Movement In Many Parts explores systems of human infrastructure — through the architectural, ecological, biological, political, industrial, and fantastical — and the way we organize ourselves as a society. Composed of units, these diverse systems chart cycles of utopia, failure, change, and ultimately, evolution.

Curated by:
Lucy Seena K. Lin and Weston Teruya

Kim Anno
Susan Chen
Mik Gaspay
Amy M. Ho
Noritaka Minami
Christine Nguyen
Genevieve Quick
Sanjit Sethi
Meeson Pae Yang

Opening Reception
Friday July 13, 5-9 pm

Gallery Hours
Mon – Fri, 9 am – 5 p